Raising Awareness about Aging Society through Social Media

Posted September 30, 2019

In the last four decades, Thailand population structure has been changed rapidly. Thailand became an ageing society since 2000-2001 and the number of population aged 60 is accounting for more than 10 percent of the total population which means Thailand has the increasing proportion of the elderly. This is one indicator that shows the step into the ageing society. Thailand is one of many countries in the world entering an ageing society. Thailand birth rate is lower than mortality rate causing the average age increase every year. By 2063, it estimated that 1 out of 3 people in Thailand will be elderly due to advance medical technology. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon that we see seniors in all places such as department stores, hospitals or even in nursing home. This clearly indicate the growth rate of the elderly and will result in unexpectedly increase in the number of nursing homes. If we look back at the past, we would see the nursing homes are only in Bangkok or big cities. At the present, you will find a lot of nursing homes all over the place in Thailand both government and private owned. The price ranges from ten thousand to hundred thousand or sometimes as much as seven digits. However, the numbers of nursing homes are not enough to meet the needs of the families who don’t have time to take care the elderly and more often they have to be on waiting list to get the space in nursing home. In addition, the professional manpower production related to healthcare is not enough, such as doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, physiotherapists, nutritionists, or even professional therapists. In addition, the context of the global society is changing all the time, so the new generations don't have much time to look after the elderly in their homes and they have to be left home alone so often and this make us get familiar with the situations. We also sometimes heard that the elderly die without anyone around. Although the government try to solve the problem of the increasing of ageing populations, but the problem becomes more serious.

This problem occurs in my community as well. My community is small outskirt community and I see the context of the elderly changing much more than before including social context, well-being and also numbers of the elderly in the community. Nowadays, the elderly in my community have increased every year; some people are over 80 years old. However, this causes one of obvious problems; the elderly are older than before and their ageing come together with illness, dizziness, diabetics, high blood pressure  or even heart disease. The elderly often die alone because there are no children to take care since they have to go to work or seek for opportunities in economic benefits in big cities. They can only support and take care of the families by sending money to their parents for living expenses. 

I, as a young generation in the community that has lived here for over 20 years, want to utilize my ability to shoot videos and short stories about healthy elderly who can be the role models of quality ageing lifestyles. I have the opportunity to work with the website page “WE ARE YOUNG” in shooting an interview with Grandma Buason Chanprachu, aged 83, who has a well-known nickname as “Happy Mood Yogi”.  She lives in Warin Chamrap district. I found that during the whole time of interviewing, the atmosphere was filled with laughers and sincere smiles. I could feel that Grandma is a very happy person. At that moment, I realized I wanted to create a media that can help public to understand and reach the value of the elderly. Then I wrote a draft for a social media project that using fun and easy to understand videos as messages for general public to understand the elderly more and more through the story of Grandma.

I hope this would help everyone to be aware of the value of the elderly; the elderly people are not a burden to their children, if the children take good care and look after them very well, they would be quality elderly people. In addition, the community has to give opportunities for them in doing things that make them live happily. Consequently, they could be role models for people in the community also inspire the elderly in the country or even the world to look after their health and to continue to reach an ageing society with quality and sustainability. This is consistent with SDGS goal 3: ensure healthy lives and promote well-being, guaranteeing the health and well-being for all ages.

 Wissanu Singthong joined the APYE - Asia- Pacific Youth Exchange. He has been working with his team to raise the awarenes about aging society and to encourage older persons to participate in the community work.